India missed too many chances: Coach

Indian coach Rajinder Singh put the blame on his players for their 3-4 defeat to Pakistan in the Champions Trophy bronze medal play-off.

updated: February 25, 2007 09:48 IST
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Under-fire, Indian coach Rajinder Singh today put the blame on his players for their 3-4 defeat to Pakistan in the Champions Trophy bronze medal play-off. He said the team committed harakiri by missing as many as eight gilt-edged chances. "The statistics say that we missed eight chances, and at this level, these are far too many," a grim looking Singh said after India's hopes of even finishing with a bronze in the event were dashed by their arch-rivals. "The missed chances is something we need to work on urgently as we prepare for the 2004 Olympics," the coach said. The coach also held the inexperience of the four-man half-line as one of the reasons for the setback. Today's defeat was a repeat of the Cologne Champions Trophy last year when Pakistan lost to India in the league, but bounced back to avenge the defeat in the play-off match for 3-4 positions. "We need to improve on our midfield play and also finishing ability," said Rajinder, while also pointing out that the absence of two key midfielders Baljit Singh Saini (fractured nose) and Ignace Tirkey (knee injury), also considerably weakened the half-line. The fact that India could not force even a single penalty corner during the 70 minutes of play was a cause for concern. "I thought that the Pakistani defenders played well, but again, it was a reflection of the inability of our forwards to make use of the chances inside the circle," he said. Rajinder Singh said the team would now try to put behind its Champions Trophy disappointment and look ahead at the Olympics. And the coach felt that the boys could take heart from some positives. "Our goalkeeping has certainly improved with Devesh Chauhan playing extremely well". Pak coach elated Meanwhile, an elated Pakistan coach Tahir Zaman said his players had become 'too emotional' in the league match when they lost to India. "We learnt from our mistakes on Friday when we became too emotional and lost focus. But today, our players were calm and focused. I am especially happy with our deep defence, which did not concede a single penalty corner," the coach said. Defending his decision to continue with goalkeeper Ahmed Alam, who let in seven goals on Friday, Zaman said, "He is also human and is prone to make errors. But today, our deep defenders played well and lessened the pressure on him." "Today's win should make our fans happy. In fact, last year, at Cologne, we lost in the league, but won the bronze medal when we played India again". The coach also admitted that there was a severe backlash at home after their heavy defeat to India.(PTI)